|Background: Military dictatorships promulgating an Islamic
government have mostly run the country since independence from the UK in
1956. Over the past two decades, a civil war pitting black Christians and
animists in the south against the Arab-Muslims of the north has cost at
least 1.5 million lives in war- and famine-related deaths, as well as the
displacement of millions of others.
Government type: transitional - ruling military junta took power in 1989; government is dominated by members of Sudan's National Islamic Front (NIF), a fundamentalist political organization, which uses the National Congress Party (NCP) as its legal front.
Currency: 1 Sudanese dinar (SDD) = 100 piastres; note - in July 1999 the Sudanese Central Bank made the formal declaration that all dealings with the Sudanese pound should stop
Geography of Sudan
Location: Northern Africa, bordering the Red Sea, between Egypt and Eritrea
People of Sudan
The population of metropolitan Khartoum (including Khartoum, Omdurman, and Khartoum North) is growing rapidly and ranges from 6-7 million, including around 2 million displaced persons from the southern war zone as well as western and eastern drought-affected areas.
Sudan has two distinct major cultures--Arab and Black African--with hundreds of ethnic and tribal divisions and language groups, which makes effective collaboration among them a major problem.
The northern states cover most of the Sudan and include most of the urban centers. Most of the 22 million Sudanese who live in this region are Arabic speaking Muslims, though the majority also use a traditional non-Arabic mother tongue (i.e., Nubian, Beja, Fur, Nuban, Ingessana, etc.) Among these are several distinct tribal groups; the Kababish of northern Kordofan, a camel-raising people; the Ja’alin and Shaigiyya groups of settled tribes along the rivers; the seminomadic Baggara or Kordofan and Darfur; the Hamitic Beja in the Red Sea area and Nubians of the northern Nile areas, some of whom have been resettled on the Atbara River; and the Negroid Nuba of southern Kordofan and Fur in the western reaches of the country.
The southern region has a population of around 6 million and a predominantly rural, subsistence economy. This region has been negatively affected by war for all but 10 years of the independence period (1956), resulting in serious neglect, lack of infrastructure development, and major destruction and displacement. More than 2 million people have died, and more than 4 million are internally displaced or become refugees as a result of the civil war and war-related impacts. Here the Sudanese practice mainly indigenous traditional beliefs, although Christian missionaries have converted some. The south also contains many tribal groups and uses many more languages than in the north. The Dinka (pop. est. more than 1 million) is the largest of the many Black African tribes of the Sudan. Along with the Shilluk and the Nuer, they are among the Nilotic tribes. The Azande, Bor, and Jo Luo are “Sudanic” tribes in the west, and the Acholi and Lotuhu live in the extreme south, extending into Uganda.
Population: 40,187,486 (July 2005 est.)
SOURCES: The World Factbook, U.S. Department of State
Mother Earth Travel > Country Index > Sudan > Map Economy History